Monday, May 11, 2009

It's National Etiquette Week - Catch the Manners Virus

It's National Etiquette Week and etiquette afficionados everywhere urge you to "catch the manners virus", a rather unfortunate tagline considering we are in the midst of a swine flu epidemic but I guess no one could have anticipated that.

National Etiquette Week, established by children’s etiquette consultant Sandra Morisset in 1997, is an annual event beginning the second Monday in May. This event is a self-assessment on the current status of civility in the United States but obviously the spirit of the event and the lessons it offers are applicable globally.

The purpose of National Etiquette Week is not to get you to think about which fork to use, but rather to keep in mind the little niceties that make our society a civil one, in all of your interactions. Maybe you'll enjoy it so much, you'll continue beyond this week.

So, here are some very simple tips for making the most of National Etiquette Week:

- Give people the benefit of the doubt - if someone annoys or upsets you this week, try responding with kindness instead of retaliation and see what happens
- Thank everyone - if you're one of those who sails through doors that are held open without a word or forgets to do the little wave when another motorist lets you in front of them, make this the week you remember it
- Make others feel more comfortable - in every situation this week, ask yourself how you could make things better for those around you
- Do the obvious - hold the door open, hold the elevator, let someone with one item go ahead of you at the grocery store, etc.
- Use your words - everytime you're tempted to use profanity or resort to name-calling, choose something more constructive instead. I must admit that this is my personal weakness, name-calling is just so darn satisfying.
- Give people a break - if you're a telemarketer or purveyor of e-mail spam, why not take a week off and improve the lives of the usual recipients of your work

Any other suggestions.


  1. Hi Louise,

    I'd like to see the National Etiquette Week campaign extend to The Underworld AKA the dredges of the TTC. If people exhibited a little more decency and actually thought about how to make others comfortable on the subway, it could change the experience of commuting. As it stands, it's every person for herself. I emerge from The Underworld thinking "I made it!" rather than "Wasn't that nice."

    Could you please consider an etiquette seminar on the subway?

  2. Hi Jess,

    Great idea. Maybe there's something about the subterranean environment that brings out the rudeness in us. I experienced it firsthand when I was pregnant and people looked right at me and didn't offer a seat.

  3. Awesome!
    I retweeted this and made it "global" ;)

    My only suggestion would be to maybe lose 1 or 2 or the tips and definitely not make more (unless it's for a specific topic, like the subway). It's *very* hard to remember 6 tips while riding the bus, doing groceries etc.
    FE: The last tip only applies to a few people. "Do the obvious" could be a part of "Make others feel more comfortable" (as doing the obvious will make others feel more comfortable).

    I'm picking:
    - thank everyone (i'm bad at this!)
    - make others feel more comfortable


  4. Not sure why above post isn't displaying my actual name. It's Robert-Jon